Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2004, $247,360)
Children of incarcerated parents tend to exhibit low self-esteem, depression, and emotional withdrawal from friends and family, and inappropriate or disruptive behavior at home and in school. Not only can this affect the child due to lack of contact with the parent while they are in prison, but can lead to prolonged effects. Some children have future problems with the ability to form attachments, that may withdraw, become anti-social, and may develop problems with anger control. There is also evidence that they run a higher risk of future delinquency and/or criminal behavior.
The goals and objectives of the program are:
A. Provide daily contact with the mother during the first and last six weeks and weekly contact to establish and maintain a mother/child bond.
B. Maintain the child's emotional and physical health.
C. Motivate better behavior of the mother while in prison
D. Encourage and provide childcare training for the mother as well as resources for her life after release.
E. Reunite the child with the mother.
F. Provide transitional housing for clients with critical housing needs.
G. Provide programs and instruction that equip clients to manage their lives sufficiently.
H. Help the clients learn and apply financial discipline to their lives.
I. Meet the needs of the whole person within each family.
J. Improve children's mental and emotional health though artistic expression.
K. Form bonds of friendship and solidarity between children of the incarcerated and allow them to be advocates for the group they represent.
There are three activities that work to achieve these goals:
1. Grandma's House is a program that provides a place for infants born in prison to stay until they can be re-united with their mothers. Its goals involve physical and mental health of the baby, i.e., bonding with and visiting the mother, and care in a safe, loving environment.
2. Dream Loud is an art activity program and an advocacy group for children of the incarcerated. Progress will be measured by school records of students progress and by parental evaluation of the child's general attitude.
3. Employment assistance program will be available to families of incarcerated mothers and ex-offenders. They will work to educate the community, compile new resources, provide new educational material and training, and connect clients to jobs. This will include ex-offenders, single parents or grandparents left behind by incarceration to provide for children, and juvenile offenders.